Turkey opens high speed rail link between Ankara and Istanbul

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Turkey is inaugurating a high-speed rail service linking the capital Ankara to Istanbul which will cut travel time between the country's main two cities by half.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other dignitaries opened the service on Friday, making the first high-speed journey from Ankara to Istanbul, with a stopover at a station midway where the Turkish leader delivered a campaign speech for presidential elections on Aug. 10.

Transport officials say the new tracks, permitting speed up to 250 kms per hour (155 mph), will reduce travel time from about seven hours to three and a half hours.

The opening of the service suffered several delays, including an accident during a test run earlier this month in which a train slammed into a rail maintenance vehicle.